Today's Featured Mittens
The Brothel Supper
I have not really gotten into the non-literal aspect of woolgathering in my blog yet. So this week I am going to digress from the knitting theme and share my story of The Brothel Supper. When I first retired and was at home making wonderful meals for supper, it crossed my mind that all that effort of meal preparation was a bit of a waste for just the two of us. I do love to cook, to feed others, and to eat. I thought perhaps I should share my efforts and meals with others so I created The Brothel Supper.
Brothel might be a misnomer and might be offensive to some so I apologize in advance and invite all of you to suggest a better name. There is that knitting site called Yarn Harlot so I hope I will be excused for my language and concept. One visits a brothel and pays for services. It is a business deal and there are no expectations in return. The patrons pay for and get the very basics; they do not want or expect love, real intimacy or emotional investment.
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec:
Salon at the Rue des Moulins 1894
Although there would be no sex or money involved in my Brothel Suppers, the brothel concept seemed to be the best model for my idea. I wanted to invite busy, tired, working people to have a good meal mid-week with no strings attached. They would not have to bring anything; they would not have to help clean up; they would not have to linger. They would not even have to talk. I would listen to the radio all day so I could fill them in on what was happening in the world, if they wanted to hear about it. And Tom is always willing to give an opinion on anything at all. There would be no expectation for the Brothel patrons to be charming, scintillating or coherent. All they would have to do is sit down and eat and then leave when they felt like it.
Thinking back to my days of working, I concluded that Wednesday or Thursday night would be the best night for a Brothel Supper. The working person is not too tired on Monday or Tuesday, and Friday night is the weekend so you can really relax and let your hair down. On Wednesday and Thursday, however, you start to drag, but you still have to get up in the morning and get to work.
When the plan for The Brothel Supper was in its development stage, I pitched the idea to a few people including my husband Tom and my friends Patrick and Cheryl. Patrick and I have an ongoing contest to see which of us can be the cheapest person in the world so he of course questioned my ulterior motives. He did not think I would ever undertake such a project without some monetary remuneration. He does have a point. After a small discussion and argument in which I tried to defend my moral character, we agreed that even if I charged $10.00 for the Brothel Supper, it would still be attractive to the busy, tired working person. They would have no choice of menu--- just lay down the $10.00 and eat whatever was being served. Now this was sounding a little more like a brothel. You would actually pay for the service. A mercenary at heart, I considered it for a moment.
Then along came Tom who heard us talking about charging people to eat in our home. Definitely more generous than either Patrick or I, Tom thought if I did such a thing, all the money collected should go to a charitable cause. When I related all this to Cheryl, my nice, diplomatic friend, she thought of a compromise in which $5.00 could go to the charity and $5.00 to me to cover expenses. Oh, the possibilities!
Patrick, agitator extraordinaire, suggested we try out the money idea on his poor unsuspecting wife, Katherine. I was to make a "crude" sign with the basic information and nail it to the verandah. He would engineer a walk-by with his wife and just happen to see the sign and come in for the meal.
I agreed to the plan but as I was preparing the meal on the designated day, I started to get a little nervous. Here we were planning a trick on Katherine BUT it would not be unlike Patrick to double-trick ME! I started to worry that he would send some stranger down the street at the appointed time to read the sign, knock on the door and expect supper. I went ahead and nailed the beautifully-crafted sign to the verandah at 5pm as planned, but kept running nervously to the window to make sure hordes of people were not lining up for the $10.00 meal. Patrick and Katherine did walk by at 5:30 and Katherine was convinced to come in for a $10.00 meal. She was just a little astounded by the whole idea but soon figured out our little joke.
I like to use the good china and crystal to make the brothel patrons feel special.
The cloth napkins are necessary.
The linen tablecloth is a must.
Brothel Supper Menus
The meals I tend to serve are fairly basic but good. A Turkey Dinner. Chili. Baked chicken. Beef Stew. One tried and true menu I call the Long Reach Church Supper, which totally conflicts with the idea of a brothel. Long Reach is my ancestral home and it boasts many a good cook. That LR menu is baked ham, potato scallop, baked beans, coleslaw, pickled beets, rolls, pickles, and pie for dessert. The dress code is bib aprons.
I often make pies for dessert. I will not deny it, I make good pies. Just ask my friend and neighbor Les. He will confirm that!
Recent Brothel Supper
The most recent Brothel Supper was a Turkey Dinner with turkey and stuffing, of course....
peas and carrots....
baked squash with cranberries....
pickled beets, Lady Ashburnham pickles, cranberry sauce, gravy...
rhubarb/strawberry crisp with whipped cream.....
tea and coffee....
The Brothel Patrons
Are you a tired, busy, working person? Perhaps you qualify for a Brothel Supper!! Leave a comment in the comment section of this blog and I'll sign you up for a chance to win!
Until Next Time......